CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 16. . . .December 20, 2013
Calgary, AB: Edge, 2013.
243 pp., trade pbk. & e-Book, $14.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-894063-98-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-894063-99-9.
Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
During the counselor's interviews with the staff, many of Sage's teachers described the boy as the strangest student they had ever known. Now the counselor was seeing it firsthand, during biology class, Sage had one of his so-called daytime 'episodes.' The boy's shoulders slumped. His head bent forward as if he was sleeping.
Sage began to rock back and forward at his desk, his whole upper torso slowly beating time. Pivantis, even from the chair he filled at the back of the biology lab, could see Sage's lips moving, forming sounds. The attention of the rest of the class drifted surreptitiously toward Sage until the teacher tapped her chalk sharply on the slate. Apparently, such behavior from Sage was not all that unusual.
Pivantis slipped from the back of the room until he was level with the rocking, mumbling child. He squatted to watch and listen.
Dissociation – altered state of consciousness, was the term that popped into the psychiatrist's mind. Like a daydream but all-encompassing. He watched for another two minutes, straining to hear what the child was saying. But the sounds were mostly indistinct, and the few syllables he could hear clearly made no sense.
The Trillionist opens with the birth of the boy, Sage Rojan, on a pre-industrial planet much like our own, except with more than one moon. Sage is a peculiar child and turns out to be a boy genius. He is placed in a school for special children where he meets the girl, Tamara Young. Sage has a secret. He is possessed by a creature he calls the shadow. The shadow can seemingly take control of the boy whenever it wishes, and it guides his progress into a world of big business and increasingly marvellous inventions.
Sage becomes a scientist in the employ of greedy Duggin Bristol who finances the boy genius's inventions and reaps the financial benefits. Tamara joins the conglomerate in charge of public relations regarding Sage. The shadow becomes increasingly involved in the young man's life, and Sage has to develop techniques to control at least part of his life while searching for answers in other plains of existence.
Development of the civilization proceeds at a far too rapid pace, from bows and arrows all the way to space travel, with the resulting degradation and pollution of the environment. The shadow finally seizes total control of Sage's life and his inventions, leading to a world on the edge of total destruction. Sage progresses through the tale from boy genius to madman to saviour. He is eventually rescued by Tamara after a final confrontation with the shadow and an introduction to the Artisan of the Universe.
At 243 pages, the book consists of a one page prologue and is divided into 27 chapters. Scattered through the novel are 17 QR codes, with an additional QR code on the back cover providing the reader with additional information and a video introduction by the author. Not an explosion-filled page turner, The Trillionist will appeal more to the reader interested in what might happen when creatures, human and non, over-reach in their search for immortality through the unbridled use of technology.
Ronald Hore, a member of several writing groups, writes medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective stories in Winnipeg, MB.
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